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Transmission specialist Xtrac has designed an all-new “hybridized automated manual transmission” concept that will allow future luxury supercars hit stricter emissions standards worldwide.
Jaguar debuted an XF sedan that utilizes a new type of hybrid system, one that recaptures energy through a mechanical flywheel rather than a battery system.
Dubbed Flywheel Hybrid System for Premium Vehicles(FHSPV), the new technology is being developed with engineering powerhouses like Ricardo, Prodrive and Xtrac, who all have significant experience developing parts for race cars. “The FHSPV is really an engineering due diligence exercise,” says the project’s engineer Daniel Loftus. “We need to look at mechanical flywheels and see how they compare with electric hybrids. And then see if they have a production future.”
The flywheel puts power to the ground via an Xtrac-developed CVT gearbox, and can produce an extra 80 horsepower for a seven second time period. Combined with a start-stop system and a package size that weighs half of a traditional hybrid system, the FHSPV can also deliver a 20 percent fuel economy savings.
The one obstacle stopping the FHSPV from production is the falling cost of battery systems. Hopefully, the technology sees the light of day, as it seems to offer a lot of promise.
Lotus is set to return to Formula 1 next year and with a dedicated group of followers and the media circus that surrounds any British F1 team, the company has released some of its plans and ambitions for the 2010 season, along with the first full-sized wind tunnel model.
Lotus F1 Racing Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne said in an interview-style statement that while the team as huge challenges ahead of it with such a short preparation time, it hopes to have a full vehicle ready for February testing.
As for the car, Gascoyne says the Lotus team is working with Fondtech for the aerodynamics, Xtrac for the gearbox and a deal with Cosworth has been arranged for the engine company to supply engines. Gascoyne also comments that the team is working with technical experts in Malaysia. In fact, the Malaysian connection is a big part of the Lotus team with financing coming from both the country’s private sector as well as through the Malaysian government. In return, Malaysia intends to use the team as a marketing expert to help promote the country on the world stage. In addition, Lotus has a long term plan to set up an engineering center at the country’s Sepang race circuit.
With a long and storied history in motorsports and Formula 1 there are a lot of expectations behind the Lotus team, but Gascoyne says they have to be realistic. “We are a new team and we are starting our development late,” he said, “so it will be an achievement just to get two cars on the Bahrain grid. I hope by the middle of the season we will have established ourselves as the best of the rookie teams and then continue to make forward progress for the rest of the year.”
As for the driver’s Lotus is entertaining several offers and no doubt trying to poach some experts from other teams. One of the leading candidates is rumored to be long-time Toyota driver Jarno Trulli.
Official release after the jump: